On 7/23/12 10:56 AM, backspace wrote:
> On Jul 23, 12:25 am, Dana Tweedy <reddfrog...@gmail.com
>> On 7/22/12 3:41 PM, Ray Martinez wrote:
>>> On Jul 20, 3:52 am, backspace <stephan...@gmail.com
>>>> On Jul 19, 10:59 pm, Ray Martinez <pyramid...@yahoo.com
>>>>> On Jul 16, 3:30 pm, backspace <stephan...@gmail.com
>>>>>> I am working the concept of an oxymoron as the opposite to a pleonasm.
>>>>>> My theory athttp://tautology.wikia.com/wiki/Tautology_Wikiisthat'natural
>>>>>> selection' as semantic construct is an oxymoron and would appreciate
>>>>>> any ideas on this issue. Especially Burkhard, Ray and UC comments
>>>>>> would be most welcome
>>>>> "In the literal sense of the word, no doubt, Natural Selection is a
>>>>> false term" (Charles Darwin).
>>>>> Stephan: could you please supply the full reference for this quote?
>>>> OoS. Text file available at archive.org
. Download and press Ctrl+F
>>>> for search enter section of the sentence to find the full one.
>>> Stephan: By "asking" I gave you the benefit of any doubt. The fact of
>>> the matter is that Darwin never said it.
>> Ray, as usual, your incompetent "scholarship" betrays you. Darwin did
>> write the above. A few seconds of searching revealed it's from
>> Darwin's "Origin of Species" Chapter IV. The whole paragraph reads:
>> "Several writers have misapprehended or objected to the term Natural
>> Selection. Some have even imagined that natural selection induces
>> variability, whereas it implies only the preservation of such variations
>> as arise and are beneficial to the being under its conditions of life.
> beneficial variations are preserved. Beneficial <=> preserved in the
> context used, it is a claim of logic.
Well, no, it's an observation of what happens in nature.
> This is also why I have written at http://tautology.wikia.com/wiki/Tautology_Wiki
> that Darwin meant *preservation* with *selection*, he preferred
> preservation as his actual term as he indicated in a letter written to
> somebody. My point is that he used multiple *dissimilar*
term to formulate a water
> tight proposition as a claim of logic and thus untestable. No test can
> be devised to either refute or confirm the following generalized
> 1) Beneficial ones are preserved.
If you could show that non beneficial mutations are preserved more often
than beneficial ones, that would falsify the statement.
> 2) Selected ones are preserved.
If that's what Darwin wrote, then it would have been a tautology.
> 3) The perpetuators proliferate ( Stanford tautologies thread)
Except that Darwin proposed a reason why certain variants proliferate,
not just stated that those who were perpetuated proliferate.
> 4) etc.. you get the point
I see that your 'point' comes from equivocating "beneficial" with
"selected". Darwin's theory explains why those traits selected are
more likely to be beneficial.
> There are thousands of *dissimilar* terms one could interchange with
> *selection* to formulate a claim of logic.
Why would this be relevant? Darwin wasn't proposing thousands of
>> No one objects to agriculturists speaking of the potent effects of manï¿½s
>> selection; and in this case the individual differences given by nature,
>> which man for some object selects, must of necessity first occur. Others
>> have objected that the term selection implies conscious choice in the
>> animals which become modified; and it has even been urged that, as
>> plants have no volition, natural selection is not applicable to them!
> eerrr... plants don't have volition as far as I know?
Remember, the above is Darwin talking, not me. But the point Darwin
was making is that his term "selection" is metaphorical. He knows that
nature is not intelligent, and doesn't actually make a conscious choice.
He was using the term as shorthand for the influence the environment
has on a population.
>> *In the literal sense of the word, no doubt, natural selection is a
>> false term;* but who ever objected to chemists speaking of the elective
>> affinities of the various elements?ï¿½and yet an acid cannot strictly be
>> said to elect the base with which it in preference combines.
> This confuses a pattern which represents itself with a pattern that
> represents something other than itself.
Again, Darwin's point was that he knows that strictly the word
"selection" implies a conscious choice, but that English language is
flexible enough to make exceptions.
> Computers rely in the "affinities" between copper atoms to calculate
> algorithms, but the algorithms themselves represents something other
> than themselves while the "affinities" or chemical effects between
> atoms represents only itself.
This may mean something to you, but it's gibberish to me. What do you
>> It has been
>> said that I speak of natural selection as an active power or Deity; but
>> who objects to an author speaking of the attraction of gravity as ruling
>> the movements of the planets?
> Because gravity only represents itself, ruling was used
> metaphorically. With 'natural selection' as contracted shorthand for
> the full sentence 'natural means of competitive selection' from
> Matthew, Darwin is trying to salvage his concept from metaphorical
> bafoonism and not acknowledge the real author who coined the term.
Actually, what he's doing is pointing out that English usage is
flexible, and that most educated persons know what he means by "natural
selection". He's not using the word "selection" in the most strict
fashion, but he points out that similar words are often used fairly
>> Every one knows what is meant and is
>> implied by such metaphorical expressions; and they are almost necessary
>> for brevity.
> Exactly, just like Darwin's term 'natural selection' was the *brevity*
> shorthand for SoF which in turn is an apt shorthand for: The
> acquisition of attributes via the natural means of competitive
> preservation(selection etc) as entities compete to dominate an
> ecological niche. This is a claim of logic, not test can verify or
> refute it.
Again, it isn't a "claim of logic" but an observation of what happens in
populations. Those with beneficial traits tend to out breed those who
have either neutral, or detrimental traits. That's how beneficial
traits spread throughout the population.
If you tested a population, and found that harmful traits, or neutral
traits, gave an individual more likelihood of breeding, and passing on
it's genes to the next generation, then it would falsify the idea that
beneficial traits are favored.
>> So again it is difficult to avoid personifying the word
>> Nature; but I mean by Nature, only the aggregate action and product of
>> many natural laws, and by laws the sequence of events as ascertained by
> This is a tautology.
If so, why is it a problem. Darwin here is admitting the word
"selection" tends to personify nature. He also states that what he
means by "nature" is the aggregate function of natural laws. So, if
that definition is a tautology, so what?
> Why does Opium induce sleep? Because of its
> 'optimific' properties as pointed out by John Brey in his book
> Tautological Oxymorons.
Which still acknowledges that opium produces sleep. That much is true,
why would it be a problem?
>> With a little familiarity such superficial objections will be
> Sadly yes, the biological community routinely use the oxymoron non-
> metaphorically , formulating meaningless sentences.
Natural selection is not an oxymoron, but merely a metaphor. If you
think the sentences are meaningless, then that's your own problem of
understanding. Those using the term know it's a metaphor.
> Only the
> *metaphorical* usage of ns makes sense and then only if it is made
> clear to what this metaphor refers -> Patrick Matthew. Logical
> validities by logical necessity must make sense, since they are
> universal truths, imagine if What happens, happens weren't true in all
Again, Darwin was describing what happens in nature, not making claims
of logic. Natural selection is not just "what happens happens". It's
describing why some variants in a population have differential
reproductive success over other variants. These things do happen, but
natural selection is an explanation, not just a statement.
> What we are after are falsifiable theories explaining how
> Neural control algorithms as a universal math construct is transmitted
> from amino acids to another collection of amino acids.
And the idea of natural selection could be falsified if one could show
non beneficial variants were favored over beneficial ones.
In artificial selection, variants that are not beneficial for the
organism are sometimes favored, as human need are not always the needs
of the individual. In the wild, a chihuahua is most likely less fit
than a timber wolf, but human breeding causes preferential breeding of